A recent post I made garnered a lot of attention and interest, so I figured I would open this up and shed some light on an often overlooked critical profession. Barring patient personal details, feel free to ask me absolutely anything.

Proof: http://i.imgur.com/pygAHVI.jpg

Comments: 5340 • Responses: 88  • Date: 

Burow2886 karma

Do hospital doctors think 911 medics are dumb?

Have you ever applied pressure to an otherwise fatal wound?

Is defibrilation used as often as movies make you think?

How ready is the staff for snake bites?

Super_Medic2979 karma

It depends on the DR. I have had some Drs have me hold up and go over a head CT of a stroke pt, and I've had some who think i'm a moron when they had no room to judge anyone. Usually though unless it an arrest or incredibly traumatic call we deal strictly with nursing staff in patient transition.

Yea, I had a guy put his arm through a window because he was fighting with his girlfriend. He severed his brachial artery and by the time we got to the er we were both soaked in blood.

I could count on one hand the times I've rolled on scene with a patient already hooked to a AED. I think thats more a cost related thing though.

I've actually never dealt with a snake bite call, though we have some severely venomous ones around here. There is antivenin kept pretty close though. If not in the hospital itself its a short flight away.

**Finally edited out my mistake. I got it people! lol

Burow433 karma

Thanks for the quick answers. Best of wishes.

Super_Medic399 karma

Not a problem. Thanks!

MedicHooah182 karma

Why not use a tourniquet? I understand there are ideas that it make cause tissue damage. But it's going to be a lot more effective than holding proximal pressure.

Super_Medic453 karma

I did eventually, but tourniquet isn't first line in bleeding control. Ended up using a bp cuff to control it.

forava72273 karma

how many crazy/stupid drivers do you have to avoid? have you, yourself, almost been in an accident with your siren on?

Super_Medic4931 karma

In my experience it's actually safer for us to drive with the siren and lights off. People go straight stupid when they see the lights. I've seen people pull into oncoming traffic to get out of the way.

Remember: Slow down/stop and pull to the right.

cazique1090 karma

What do you do during rush hour?

Super_Medic2158 karma

I'm not in that big of a city, but just lay on the siren and wait, basically.

DVIcm1232 karma

I work in a big city, we just shut down the sirens and sit with our lights on until the traffic starts to move. No sense in sitting on your horn and siren while sitting behind cars with no where to go. Plus I've seen cars jump on the sidewalk before and crash into each other trying to make space where there was none.

Super_Medic1002 karma

The way people respond is unbelievable!

Super_Medic1274 karma

This is from something I was personally involved in...

http://i.imgur.com/8UXHxMW.jpg http://i.imgur.com/fYFV5gB.jpg

KayBee10520 karma

Holy balls! Were you hurt?

Super_Medic1083 karma

I suffered a concussion. My partner was on a vent in icu for little over a week.

ManWithYourPlan442 karma

WTF? Did a Semi swing into you or something?

Super_Medic987 karma

Willow tree at approximately 35 mph.

ManWithYourPlan882 karma

Always sobering to see the effects of a crash as "slow" as 35 mph

Super_Medic1091 karma

As cliche as it sounds... Always wear your seatbelt.

altodor509 karma

I've seen one accident. It had two kids under 16 ejected, two kids under 12 pinned, and the mother walking around. The ejected kids looked to have really bad head and neck injuries possibly paralysis, one pinned kid lost all their teeth and I think a broken back, and one was stuck under the dash somehow, and I know nothing of their injuries. The mom had a broken arm.

The mother, and maybe the kid under the dash were the only people wearing a seatbelt. They left in ambulances, everyone else left by Life Flight.

Super_Medic501 karma

I've certainly witnessed it being the deciding factor in life or death.

StalkingLlama881 karma

You or the willow moving that fast?

Super_Medic1346 karma

Damn thing came outta no where! You shoulda seen it!

CuddlePirate4202053 karma

Has anyone died because you couldn't get to them fast enough because of bad traffic? I think about that on my ride home, that if I had a heart attack at 5pm in the heaviest parts, I'd die because an ambulance couldn't get near me.

Super_Medic3615 karma

Oh yea. More often than I think anyone realizes.

I don't think people realize that the call they are blocking us from getting to could be someone they love.

awp2351916 karma

My sister has numerous deathly allergies, gets hospitalized at least once a year unfortunately. People comment on how I move over and get the heck out of the way so quickly, I tell them "that could be my sister in there, I want them to get where they're going."

Super_Medic1608 karma

For sure. People are incredibly selfish though.

Sierranevadaipa1985 karma

If I'm by myself at home and I break my wrist, is calling 911 appropriate? Or is that a "get your friend to drive you to the emergency room" kinda thing....

I've just always been curious about things that are kind of an emergency but not really

Super_Medic6640 karma

If you feel you can drive yourself or can easily find someone to drive you then it's up to you. You may get some pain medicine, and youll get it splinted, but depending on where you are it's sometimes faster to drive yourself.

When in doubt give us a call. I'd rather someone call us and not need us than need us and not call.

TransposingJons1202 karma

This is your best comment.

Super_Medic1139 karma

Well thanks!

Whisky4Breakfast1597 karma

Every medic has their own strange NOPE type of injury or call. Mine was anything with fingers or toes. What's yours???

Super_Medic1885 karma

Yea, of all the shit i've seen fingernail avulsions make my skin crawl. haha

Atomic-Bell1527 karma

Has anyone ever tried to seduce you when you were called out? If you were, what's the story?

Also, have you ever had to go to someone you know?

Edit: /u/wildfire701

Super_Medic2081 karma

I had a guy invite me back to his place after my shift to "hang out" with his two girls and him. I didn't go... lol

LobeLardo544 karma


Super_Medic851 karma

Why didn't I go back?

Lilikoithepig1351 karma

What's the craziest interior decorating decision you've seen in a patient's home?

Super_Medic2079 karma

I dont know that anything intentional springs to mind. I have seen people with shit stacked up through out the house to where there was only a small path from room to room, and I was in a trailer that had a bunch of holes in the floor where cats were climbing in and out!

TheHighestSparrow1231 karma

That cat trailer sounds incredible.

Super_Medic1883 karma

The smell was what was really incredible!

3030sonic1220 karma

Since this will probably be asked eventually, what is the worst thing you've ever seen on the job? And thank you for doing this!

Super_Medic2609 karma

It involved holding a dead baby for about an hour drive. We were transporting the mother to another facility and the corpse had to come with us, but I couldn't bear just to lay it somewhere.

GrittySpice957 karma

Former medic here. I did CPR on a newborn with PEA during a return. (For the laypersons, that's no breathing, no pulse, but an organized heart rhythm. Very low chance of a happy ending in this case, and it yielded the expected outcome.) Definitely not an hour drive, but felt like an eternity.

There aren't many people who want to talk about this stuff. Nice to hear from someone who had a similar experience. That's all.

Super_Medic1061 karma

It's either get it out or go nuts.

The air of machismo when it comes to feelings in the profession really worries me. I'm sure it causes much more problems than it helps.

nowthatsthespirit472 karma

On the road, i've never had anyone survive that I've done CPR on (3). I always knew the odds were against me everytime but it was worth trying.

Wasn't an EMT just 5-0.

Edit: Thanks for the gold! I've seen it, never had it, no idea what it does! With great power, comes great responsibility and I won't let you down. It means a lot to me, seriously.

Super_Medic115 karma

Yea, man it just all depends on what got them there. Keep up the good fight though!

CrudelyAnimated228 karma

I have had family in EM, one of them a 12yr EMT-P. I have heard the dead baby story, the train pedestrian story, the spine board over the fire story, the spitting AIDS patient story. That family member no longer works in the field. I wish you good luck and godspeed. Be safe out there.

Super_Medic238 karma

Appreciate it. Yea that call list seems pretty much standard for the EMS bingo card. lol

rickmuscles1172 karma

Do you take your work home with you? If not, how do you block the troubling stuff out?

Super_Medic3460 karma

The really bad stuff I do. Kids are especially rough for me. I mentioned a call somewhere else in here about having to hold the corpse of a newborn for about an hour drive and it fucked me up for probably the better part of two months.

For the most part though you desensitize yourself to it with a humor callous. I've seen stories of people in EMS getting in trouble for being caught making fun of a patient on a dash cam after a call, but what the public doesn't understand is that it isn't personal and that if we didn't do stuff like that we would all last approximately a year be fore being committed.

WomzBro1763 karma

A similar thing happens in hostile deployed areas. You have to find humor or else you'll go mad. People that don't understand tend to demonize. PC goes out the window. Dark humor ensues. Keep fighting the good fight. You certainly earned my respect. I'd buy you a beer if I could.

Super_Medic1152 karma

Exactly. Cheers, mate.

Triffid-salad1146 karma

What's one of the nicer things you've had happen on a call?

Super_Medic2530 karma

After a call, we had a husband of a patient bring us some snacks and thank us for taking care of his wife. It was really nice to be remembered after the fact.

esprockerchick1081 karma

I've been one of those people!!!! If it wasn't for the medic that saved my kid's father, and the heart wrenching story he shared with him in regards to the loss of his own son, my kids wouldnt have a dad nor would he have ever sought rehab. The next day I brought 2 baskets of baked goodies and a case of tea into the station and thanked everyone there that night and thanked the medic for convincing someone to get help when I had tried to convince him for so long. He even shed a little tear cause he was glad to see he stopped one person from going the way his son did. Thanks guys for all that you do!!!

Super_Medic807 karma

We really appreciate it! Sometimes it definitely feels like we aren't noticed till we are needed.

Eldebryn958 karma

Have you ever felt your life was at risk due to a patient? What's the story?

Super_Medic1830 karma

Yeah, Ive been unexpectedly caught in cross fire. I've found myself locked in a back room of a run down house with a self proclaimed white supremacist with a bunch of guns laying around. Several near misses from traffic working on highway. Improperly secured vehicles starting to tip while I'm in them. It a more common occurrence than I think we realize. Most of the time it's not until after the fact you realize how bad a situation was.

ltnjenkins652 karma

Jesus Christ, do you mind sharing the white supremacist story and how the hell you ended up locked in a back room? That sounds absolutely nuts.

Edit: back rooms are not bathrooms

silverwitcher296 karma

Second this.

Super_Medic1675 karma

I dont remember what the call was for at this point. Shortness of breath maybe? But we got on scene and was lead through to the back of this house and found a guy sitting on a bed and as we entered the room the people who lead us in deadbolted the door behind us. The guy started going on about the upcoming war and how we looked like two good guys to be in a foxhole with. It was insane.

benh141911 karma

What is the worst thing that someone "accidentally" got stuck in their butt?

Super_Medic1682 karma

One of those battery operated toothbrushes?

Gets properly securable items for your butt play, people.

benh141356 karma

So the brush part was all the way in? Was it in brush side up? How deep did it go?

Super_Medic828 karma

Brush side down and it had apparently worked it way up past finger reach. I didn't go hunting for it. :)

Eli_Siav_Knox806 karma

Was there any moment that made you think, ok I quit?

Super_Medic1467 karma

Recently I had a string of like 8 bad calls in a week that just completely emotionally wrecked me. I couldn't quit, but it confirmed that I was making the right decision by being in school to move on from this.

jordan1390812 karma

Mine was the 600 lb patient who had been in the floor for 3 days, completely naked, shitting and pissing on himself with open sores everywhere...good times

Super_Medic663 karma

Aww, memories...

Purplederp69773 karma

What is your favorite feature in the ambulance?

Super_Medic1177 karma

The times I get to use a cot that is automatic are good days.

AceSLive12731 karma

Thank you for doing what you do.

Ninja edit: Whats the longest shift you've worked?

Super_Medic1055 karma

When I was a young'n I worked 5 24 hour shifts in a weeks time.

All in a row 70ish hours? Not any more though. Way too old for that.

watchoutyo677 karma

What do you eat during your shifts, specifically after seeing something gross?

Super_Medic1390 karma

Yea, at this point I could eat and suction a trach at the same time.

Liverpoolsc2792 karma

I don't think eating the trach is going to help anyone, but good on you Dr. Lecter.

stupid_medic586 karma

Did you know that I'm your arch nemesis?

Super_Medic523 karma

Battling stupid every day! lol

shark649516 karma

Hello Fellow Ohioian and person in he medical field. I do home rehab I work with fragile and elderly people. I have my med CPR but...

What can those of us that have to call a squad for our patients due to help you? Besides CPR if our patient is breathing on their own but need your services what can we do or get ready for you

Super_Medic919 karma

First of all, big props. I dunno if i could handle being with some of the bad patients i've had for days upon days.

As far as calling 911... Put up any animals. Clear us a path to get the stretcher in (it seems a lot of older people have a tendency to hoard), and if your patients do not already have one help them get together a paper that has all their pertinents ie. name, birthday, social, allergies, medical history, and medications. Having all that info waiting and ready to go saves so much time. :)

Bmorehon168 karma

I feel like this should be something everyone keeps in their wallet and most definitely something all geriatricians recommend to their patients.

Super_Medic160 karma

For sure. That and an ICE (In case of emergency) labelled contact in their phones.

Ultravioletgray504 karma

Have you ever had to use your training outside of work?

Super_Medic1004 karma

Yea, I've rolled up on some wrecks in my personal vehicle. It certainly has helped me learn to keep calm in a crisis.

romanjumangi462 karma

So... Why did you want to get into this profession??

Also, do you put anything extra inside your grilled cheese besides cheese?

Super_Medic733 karma

To be honest, I had no idea the profession really existed. I was in college working on my bachelors in biology when my girlfriend got pregnant, so I had to find a job sooner than later. She was looking in the paper one day and saw an ad and said "Hey, how about working on an ambulance?" and the rest is history...

KayBee10487 karma

And the grilled cheese?

Super_Medic613 karma

Oh right, sorry. I am plain jane with mine.

Though I had a friend make some where he put apple in them. It was ok, but I'm not one to mix sweet and savory.

tosmo58 karma

Are you still with the above mentioned girlfriend?

Super_Medic176 karma

Nah, we split up like 9 years ago. Still friends though.

lt_dagg411 karma

Got any good gunshot stories?

Super_Medic1558 karma

I had a hooker who's legal name was sparkle get shot in the ass by her pimp.

I_Like_Existing309 karma

IDK if it's too much detail but was it on the cheek or directly into the bum?

Super_Medic509 karma

Haha. Couple cheek shots.

ICleanWindows384 karma

Just wanted to thank you for the work that you do, I ended up getting knocked off my bike by a car yesterday (I'm fine!), and the fact that there was an ambulance with 5-6 people within a few minutes was incredible. I'm happy knowing that there are people like you who are ready to respond to an incident within a moments notice.

My question is, what's the happiest experience you've had with your job?

Super_Medic745 karma

Delivering a happy healthy baby!

So rarely do I get to be on that side of the life.

toadallyfroggincool338 karma

Do you take lots of heroin overdose calls? What % of calls are due to drug abuse these days?

Super_Medic707 karma

It comes in waves. You can definitely tell when a bad batch comes into town. I was a part of that, what was it, 45 overdoses in a day spree i'm sure you heard about recently.

LarsThorwald313 karma

Had a friend OD two weeks ago, a neighbor OD two days later. Everyone sort of shrugged and said there must be a bad batch going around. Like it's a bad storm or the flu. Baltimore. Heroin. Shrug. Stay away from that shit and just shake your head and frown when these things happen.

Super_Medic276 karma

Check into narcan from the pharmacy for your friend. Obviously kicking the addiction is preferable, but in the mean time...


Have you ever gone to a call that has made you question why you still do this?

Thanks for everything you do and everything you will do!

Super_Medic312 karma

Do you mean due to the frivolous nature, or because of how traumatic it is on the psyche?

laurelivid165 karma


Super_Medic394 karma

Yea a MVC i had recently referenced here...


I was with the patient who was close to my age for the last hour of their life. It weighed really hard on me.

V3LV3TUND3RGR0UND307 karma

What's the promotion potential like for an EMT? Like could you get promoted to Life Flight?

Super_Medic522 karma

It isn't a promotion per se. It is just a different company to work for. To work on a helicopter you have to have 3-5 years of experience in 911.

In ems in general there is like 3 steps on the ladder. Field medic > Supervisor > Director. It's a very stagnant field in terms of advancement.

SlightlyWorrying300 karma

Have you ever been assaulted or other wise aggressively treated by patients or bystanders? In The Netherlands this problem has garnered some attention, and I was wondering whether we're the only country that deals with this.

Super_Medic473 karma

The hardest i've ever been hit was by an 80 year old diabetic lady, though that was unintentional. But, yea i've been pushed around. Mostly with overdoses. Bystanders will call and the patient wakes up in the mean time and gets aggressive thinking we are going to get them arrested.

Diatomicsquirrel232 karma

Do you feel like people need to be more educated about what your job entails?

And do you feel people should be more thankful or respectful to first responders?

Super_Medic536 karma

I think everyone should have to take an, at least abridged, EMT course in highschool. Everyone knowing how to preform cpr and to stop bleeding would be invaluable. Other than that, I think knowing when to or to not call 911 or to visit an ER vs urgent care is something that should be more widely known.

As far as respect goes... You cant force people to respect something. I try to conduct myself in a respectable manner, but there are certainly dicks in this job like in any other that don't deserve an ounce.

DACH33ZMAN190 karma

I work as a receptionist at an Urgent Care facility. It is insane when a pt will walk through the door with life threatening conditions and assume that we have the facilities to treat it.... All in an effort to avoid going to the ER. Pt will come in with symptoms of stroke and come here first just to be referred to the ER, wasting precious time. I totally agree with educating people on what kind of situations are an Urgent Care visit vs. an ER visit/when to call 911.

Super_Medic211 karma

Oh for sure, and I get calls at 3 am for "My mouth tastes funny." haha

harvest3155221 karma

My sister had the same job North of Cincinnati. She told me about picking up people OD on heroin and hear a clunking sound. Then she looks down and ice cubes on the ground. She says people believe shoving ice up their butts will save them from an OD.

So any odd "home" remedies you come across?

Super_Medic283 karma

I've never seen ice in the butt, but ive had people shoved in ice baths.

The stuff people put on burns... Butter etc... No, no, no.

tyrael98204 karma

What happens when you are called to a scene and person has died prior to arrival? Do you turn around?

Also when you get to a scene and there is a body do you handle the dead at all or does a coroner?

I live in canada and those are rumors i have heard about ehs drivers

Super_Medic284 karma

We confirm asystole. Note the presence of lividity and rigor to insure it isn't recent and I pronounce them dead. From there law enforcement takes over if its suspicious. If not a funeral home comes and gets them.

purpleparapup180 karma

Brand new baby medic here: any advice? Ive been an emt now for 4 years.

Super_Medic301 karma

Start working on your RN? lol

Nah, well yea, but If you love it keep on. The issues with the job pushes all the decent well intentioned people out. Also, lift with your legs!

jingledells180 karma

What would you say is the hardest aspect of your job, mentally? And how do you handle it?

Thank you for your service!

Super_Medic731 karma

Just the repeated struggle of dealing with death and dying. The best way I've learned to explain it is "Imagine the worse moment of your life. Now imagine doing that 5-10 times a day several times a week."

I man up and go to therapy. A lot of alcoholism and broken relationships in the job though. I think last I heard we have one of the highest suicide and divorce rates.

Super_Medic177 karma

Gonna call it a night guys. I'll try to pop back in tomorrow and answer anything I didn't get to. Thanks so much for all the questions, and feel free to ask more!

pleuvoir_etfianer121 karma

Craziest story? Like craziesssttt

Super_Medic472 karma

I picked up a passed out drunk chick in her car on the side of the road. She woke up enough on the way to the hospital to start rubbing one out. haha

erikedge109 karma

What presser do you use up there? We have to switch between dopamine, and levophed depending on the mood of the pharmacy packing or drug box that day.

Super_Medic217 karma

Dopamine. Never been a fan of leavemdead. lol

imacrazycatlady105 karma

Cliche question, but what's the craziest incident you've had to deal with?

Also, thanks for everything you do. We've had to call medics many times where I work (sports facility) and you guys don't get enough credit for what you do :) so thank you.

Super_Medic68 karma

Elaborate on crazy. Lol

aarent200299 karma

Is it true that you drive with a pan of water in the ambulance? To make sure you drive safe enough for the patient in the back or something

Super_Medic158 karma

It isnt mandatory, but it is the way I was taught and subsequently teach newbies. The exponential difference between being in the front and back is rough if you're the one in the back.

Burow96 karma

Whats the rarest condition that you have diagnosed on spot? And how? What was the treatment after that?

Super_Medic137 karma

I had a patient with some insane looking rash that went diagnosed for like a month. Never found out if it was contagious or anything. It's been a while so I guess I am good.

Xghoststrike26 karma

What would you personally say is worse? Home calls (disgusting hoarders or to fat to move people). vehicle accident calls (dismembered bodies and such)? Or work orientated calls (nail gun shot a guy in the eye) those are the only 3 big difference of places I would imagine you would receive a call? From experience which is the worst?

Super_Medic70 karma

There's pros and cons to each I think.

At home you can have the 500 lbers that are up 2 flights of stairs in a house that has 2 foot wide doorways and stairs, or floors that are falling through.

In car wrecks you can be waist deep in water in the middle of winter, or hiking down an embankment hunting for a car that went down the hill on interstate between the split on a bridge.

At work you get the guy who's arm is mangled up in a machine that you know is gone, but the issue now is he still stuck in the machine.

Xghoststrike16 karma

Car wreck in winter. I would change professions...

Super_Medic29 karma

in a creek...

sapientquanta17 karma

Please forgive my question for being off the wall. I am interested in the fringe of human experience.

Have you ever encountered anything unusual or that you had trouble explaining to yourself in a conventional framework?

Super_Medic17 karma

Elaborate a bit on what you're asking if you don't mind.

Burow13 karma

Have you treated people from a condition caused by weed? For example head trauma by hypoglycemia ? Or any other zebra?

Super_Medic52 karma

Nope. I am a huge proponent of legalization. Would greatly reduce the opiod epidemic in my opinion. Any incidental exposure to stoned individuals on the job has always been pleasant. :)

HoldingOntoAHandle11 karma

Most hilarious and horrific call?

If your Hallie berry though I already know that last one.


Super_Medic59 karma

Hilarious: Was a guy with something up his butt. For whatever reason people seem to be very prone to falling onto things that go straight up their arses. haha

Horrific: Lady who had her leg ripped off by an air bag. Word of caution. Never ride with your legs up on the dash board. Especially so with a passenger air bag.

Burow2 karma

If there are doubts about a fat embolism, obviously it has to be confirmed and stopped before it spreads. Whats the first ,of the couple diagnostic methods, that you would use? Whats the safe bet? Or is it a rush to the hospital with a bandage at this point?

Super_Medic5 karma

Yea we aren't really capable of determining that kind of thing. We treat the symptoms and try keep things from progressing.